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Language structure: variation and change

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Improvements to webapp ‘Moedertaal in NT2’

Dear colleagues,

Last year, I received two starting grants for the project ‘Moedertaal in NT2’ (MoedINT2). The project involves the development of an app that informs teachers of Dutch as a second language of properties of the L1s of their students, in order to help them make use of the full linguistic repertoire of their students, and recognize L1-specific acquisition problems better.

In February, we launched a first version of the (web)app, and I am happy to say that we have recently made some significant improvements and additions. The app, which you can access at https://www.moedint2.nl, now includes:

– Contrastive analyses comparing Dutch with 7 other languages (Czech, Moroccan-Arabic, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Syrian-Arabic, and Turkish).

– Descriptions of 7 teaching activities, which help teachers to make use of students’ L1(s) in learning a particular property of Dutch. These teaching activities have been developed in cooperation with experts from SLO and CITO. They are all founded on the principle that an L1 (and L2, L3, etc.) is a source of knowledge that students bring to the classroom and from which they can benefit in acquiring a new language. The activities are aimed at students from an age of 10-14 years old with a low proficiency, but can be adapted for other types of learners.

– A contrastive analysis comparing French and Syrian-Arabic. This is a first step in creating two versions of the app with different target languages, aimed at teachers of French and English as a second or foreign language. In the future we hope to add more contrastive analyses comparing French and English to various other languages. Many thanks to Bert le Bruyn for making this exciting part of the project possible.

A group of 100 teachers of Dutch as a second language is testing the app and providing feedback. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments as well, I am happy to hear them! Let me know at s.c.leufkens@uu.nl.

All the best,

Sterre